Jessica Utts (born 1952) is a parapsychologist and statistics professor at the University of California, Irvine. She is most well known for her textbooks on statistics and her investigation into remote viewing. She was recently elected to serve as the 111th president of the American Statistical Association, with her term as President-Elect to commence in January 2015, followed by her term as president in 2016.
In 2003, Utts published an article in American Statistician, a journal published by the American Statistical Association, calling for significant changes to collegiate level statistics education. In the article she argued that curricula do a fine job of covering the mathematical side of statistics, but do a poor job of teaching students the skills necessary to properly interpret statistical results in scientific studies. The argument continues that common errors found in news articles, such as the common misinterpretation that correlative studies show causation, would be reduced if there were significant changes made to standard statistics courses.
Investigation of remote viewing
In 1995, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) appointed a panel consisting primarily of Utts and Dr. Ray Hyman to evaluate a project investigating remote viewing for espionage applications, the Stargate Project, which was funded by the Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency, and carried out initially by Stanford Research Institute and subsequently by SAIC.
A report by Utts claimed the results were evidence of psychic functioning, however Hyman in his report argued Utts' conclusion that ESP had been proven to exist, especially precognition, was premature and the findings had not been independently replicated. According to Hyman "the overwhelming amount of data generated by the viewers is vague, general, and way off target. The few apparent hits are just what we would expect if nothing other than reasonable guessing and subjective validation are operating." Funding for the project was stopped after these reports were issued. Jessica Utts also co-authored papers with Edwin May, who took over Stargate in 1985.
- Seeing Through Statistics, 3rd edition (2005) - The use of statistical methods to solve real world problems, and to gain understanding from the application of statistics in addition to simply calculating them.
- Mind On Statistics, 4th edition (2012), with R.F. Heckard - Textbook for an introductory statistics course, with emphasis on understanding the use of statistics in everyday life.
- Utts, J. (1988). Successful replication versus statistical significance. Journal of Parapsychology, 52(4): 305-320.
- Radin, D. and J. Utts. (1989). Experiments investigating the influence of intention on random and pseudorandom events. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 3(1): 65-79.
- Utts, J. (1989). Randomness and randomization tests: A reply to Gilmore. Journal of Parapsychology, 53(4): 345-351.
- May, E. C., J. M. Utts, B. S. Humphrey, W. Luke, T.J. Frivold, and V. V. Trask. (1990). Advances in Remote Viewing, Journal of Parapsychology, 54(3), 193-228.
- Hansen G. P., J. M. Utts, and B. Markwick. (1992). Critique of the PEAR remote viewing experiments. Journal of Parapsychology, 56(2), 97-113.
- Utts, J. (1993). Analyzing free-response data--a progress report. In PSI Research Methodology--A Reexamination, ed. L. Coly and J. D. S. McMahon, Parapsychology Foundation, New York, 71-83.
- Jessica Utts at the Parapsychological Association
- Robert Todd Carroll. (2003). The Skeptic's Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions. Wiley. pp. 331-333. ISBN 0-471-27242-6
- What educated citizens should know about statistics and probability by Jessica Utts. The American Statistician, 57(2), 74-79, 2003.
- Evaluation of a Program on Anomalous Mental Phenomena by Ray Hyman.
- The Evidence for Psychic Functioning: Claims vs. Reality by Ray Hyman.
- About IRVA
- Jessica Utts's UC Irvine page
- Parapsychology papers by Jessica Utts
- Press release announcing Utts' election as president of the American Statistical Association